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SC refers Sabarimala Temple Case to Constitution bench

SC refers Sabarimala Temple Case to Constitution bench”

On Friday, the Supreme Court is likely to pronounce its landmark verdict on the entry of woman into Kerala's Sabarimala Temple.

The bench of Justice Dipak Misra, Justice R. Banumathi and Justice Ashok Bhushan had earlier reserved its verdict on referring the case to a constitution bench.

The Constitution Bench will deal with questions whether this practice amounted to discrimination against the women.

The top court had been hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) challenging the ban on entry of women into the Sabarimala hill temple.

Women aged between 10 and 50 years are not allowed to enter the temple. Girls and women of menstruating age are not allowed in the premises of the temple, which houses Lord Ayyappan.

"The temple can not prohibit entry (of women), except on the basis of religion".

The reference to a larger bench was made by a three-judge bench headed by the Chief Justice Dipak Misra in a batch of petitions filed in 2006 by the Indian Young Lawyers Association and others opposing the ban on the women's entry to the temple.

Another women's rights activist is also hoping that the SC rules in the favour of the women as India is a secular country. It said Article 25 of the constitution gives the temple the right to manage its own affairs. According to him, banning entry of women would be against the basic tenets of Hindu religion. The Constitution Bench will decide whether Ayyappa devotees frame a different religious category by themselves.

The temple's restriction on menstruating women has been a bone of contention in recent times, raising legal questions about women's right to pray and right to equality, as guaranteed by the Constitution of India.Article 14 of the Constitution of India guarantees that the state can not deny any person equality before the law or equal protection of the law.

Whether Rule 3 of Kerala Hindu Places of Public Worship (Authorisation of Entry) Rules permits "religious denomination" to ban entry of women between the age of 10 to 50 years? Article 15 of the Constitution places a clear constitutional obligation on the state to not discriminate against any citizen on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth.



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